Pain and Suffering Damages in South Carolina
Imagine you can't enjoy eating your favorite foods or strolling on Myrtle Beach because you were involved in an accident that left you with lingering pain. Accidents are bound to happen, but that doesn't mean you have to endure pain and suffering without being compensated. Even if you were partially at fault for your injuries, South Carolina laws allow you to recover damages, including past, present, and future pain and suffering. Read on to learn about pain and suffering damages in South Carolina.
Pain and Suffering Damages: The Basics
Damages are usually divided into two categories: (1) economic and (2) noneconomic. Economic damages (also called special damages) are monetary losses, like medical expenses and lost wages due to missed work. Noneconomic damages (also called general damages), on the other hand, are intangible losses where monetary values are difficult to assign. As a part of noneconomic damages, pain and suffering damages are based on the type of injury and the seriousness of the pain suffered.
South Carolina defines "noneconomic damages" as nonmonetary damages arising from the following:
- Physical impairment
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Loss of society and companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Injury to reputation
- Fear of loss, illness, or injury
- Other nonpecuniary damages
Limitations on Pain and Suffering Damages in South Carolina
If your claim involves noneconomic damages, you should know there are some limitations in South Carolina. First, "statute of limitations" refers to a time limit for filing a lawsuit. Second, damages caps are limits on the amount of damages you can recover. Most states impose damages caps on noneconomic damages. Third, "negligence standards" are rules that limit the amount of damages when fault is shared between the parties. South Carolina, like many other states, applies the "modified comparative negligence " rule.
Statute of Limitations
- 3 years for personal injury and property damages claims [Section 15-3-530]
Noneconomic Damages Caps
- Malpractice claims: $350,000 per defendant, and $1.05 million overall cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases [Section 15-32-220]
- Punitive damages: $500,000 or three times actual damages, whichever is greater [Section 15-32-530]
- Claims against government: $300,000 cap [Section 15-78-120]
Modified Comparative Negligence
- Cannot recover damages if plaintiff is more than 50% at fault [Section 15-1-300]
Note: State laws are always subject to change at any time, usually through the enactment of newly passed legislation but sometimes through higher court decisions and other means. You may want to contact a South Carolina personal injury attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Measuring Costs of Pain and Suffering Damages
There is no clear bright-line rule to determine the costs of pain and suffering damages. Generally, a jury or judge will consider all of the circumstances that surround the incident as well as the credibility of the evidence and witnesses. At trial, you must present evidence that your pain and suffering is related to the defendant's conduct. Then, a jury or judge will consider several factors to determine the amount of pain and suffering damages, including the age of the injured person, the type of injury, and how the injury affects the victim.
Can You Claim Pain and Suffering Damages? Ask a South Carolina Lawyer
It's difficult to determine noneconomic damages related to an injury claim, especially for pain and suffering. South Carolina has a specific deadline for filing a lawsuit, so make sure you don't put off seeking legal help. Get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney in your area and find out if you have a viable case.
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